Bowhunting: Garagemahall Tip of the Day

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I was hanging out in the neighbor's Garagemahall talking about archery hunting this past weekend.  I mentioned how a friend just recovered his 1st doe of the season but not without using skills he has honed from years of bow hunting.  Upon release of the arrow he was listening and observing.  Listening and observing are certainly two key elements for a successful hunt.

Listening for the solid hit vs. a bad hit that sounds like hitting a water melon.  He watched that arrow hit the shoulders.  Observed the deer’s reaction to the hit and where he lost saw it.   Listening for the deer in a failing light for a direction or perhaps an indication of it piling up and expire.  Once he processed all that and also waiting an additional 20 minutes he got down of out his stand and walked to the point of impact.  That’s where things were not right.  1st he didn’t see anything.  No arrow no blood.  What to do?  Get back up in the stand and with a good flash light shine it down to where you shot that deer.  Everything always looks different when you get down.  In most cases in the dark you may wander off into the direction you heard the deer last and not to the actual site of impact. 

All this is known facts and have been written about over and over for sure.  But what if your site of impact leaves you with only a speckle of blood?  What does that mean?  The arrow is covered but yet nothing but a speckle of blood on the ground.  

Now the shot as you can see in the picture is pretty good.  If it was a gunshot the trauma would have been devastating and probably would have dropped that deer where she stood.  With the bow, it was a dead center shot on both shoulder blades.  The theory is that since the arrow got a pass through on both bones and gristle, the wound effectively sealed itself with the soft tissue plugging up against the bone.  Where as if it was a rib shot, bleeding would not have been impeded by bone.  The hunter putting together the puzzle with years of experience was able to recover the doe within 30 yards of his arrow through 6ft tall grass under brush and a fallen tree. (for the picture the deer was moved)  The only other blood found was at the site the doe expired. 

This brings me to the hunting tip my conversation went into with another experienced hunter.  That hunting tip is attempting for low exit wounds.  On low exit wounds the extreme shot angle is a plus.  High on the entry to the lung, and low on exit, promotes a serious blood trail.  When these hunters in the Garagemahall got to really thinking about all their bow kills where the shot and exit was high they for the majority left no blood trail.  Obviously, the blood is filling the cavity but it takes a lot of blood to fill the entire cavity and most likely that just is not going too happened.  So get higher in the stand, terrain permitting and aim higher exit lower.  That will be my focus when possible.  Crawling on hands and knees looking for blood is not a good start to the hunt which is never over until recovery is complete. 


numbnutz's picture

This is a great tip and make

This is a great tip and make total sence. Both with archery and rifle shots. That would explain why when you hear stories of hight shots and little to no blood to fallow. With straight on broadside shots you get what you get but when in a tree or above the animal this will work great infact on some hunting shows I watch I have seen this very shot selection. I will use this on my next hunt. Thanks for the great tip.

Retired2hunt's picture

  Thinking of my past


Thinking of my past harvests of deer I have to say your tip and thought process makes sense.  While most of my deer harvests were from a tree stand the height and direction of the arrow in most scenarios tended to have a high-to-low trajectory and pass-through channel.  This was also obvious even during gun season.  Now that I am hunting on the ground this tip will definitely work to my advantage when I return to bowhunting in 2012 (wanted meat definitely in the freezer this year so went with rifle!).  If the terrain and conditions allow this will be used in my archery hunts.  Thanks for the tips!


ManOfTheFall's picture

I agree with this tip. I

I agree with this tip. I would like to add to this if you get that broadside shot and place it just behind the shoulder for a double lung shot that will be an easy trail job as well. Just a little lower and get that heart shot there again an easy track job. The bottom line in archery is before you let the arrow fly know the angle of the deer and know where you need to place that arrow for maximum kill potential. If you can do this and know this you should never have a problem recovering a deer. Great tip.

jaybe's picture

Good stuff, here. As for

Good stuff, here.

As for getting that high to low pass through shot - if you can't get up higher to increase the angle, you can always aim for a mid-body entrance so the exit will be low on the other side. Most of my misses over the years have been high anyway, so I try to concentrate on aiming slightly low.

As for shot placement, I think the behind the shoulder shot is usually more productive for archery equipment than through the shoulder. It usually bleeds much better because of the close proximity of the lungs to the rib cage and less soft and hard tissue to close up the hole.

 Thanks for the tip.